Three Gorges Probe

Indonesian dam kills hundreds of citizens

(May 19, 2009) On March 27, a 76 year-old dam collapsed on the outskirts of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, killing more than a hundred citizens and destroying hundreds of homes. The Situ Gintung dam stood 16m high and held back a lake of nearly two million cubic metres of water.

The dam was built out of dirt by Dutch colonists in 1933, and experts say that little maintenance had been carried out on the dam since its construction. Residents living near the dam are reported to have spotted cracks in it as far back as one year ago. Some of the residents had even prepared evacuation plans in the event of a collapse.

Government officials in Jakarta have now been warned by a number of experts that many of city’s other dams are in a similar state of disrepair.

The collapse of the Situ Gintung dam will be added to the annals of dam disasters caused by neglect and should serve as a warning to governments building much larger dams in seismically active regions, such as China’s southwest. There catastrophic dam collapse would cause many more deaths, reaching into the millions, depending on the proximity of populations downstream


Brady Yauch, May 19, 2009

Categories: Three Gorges Probe

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